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The Socially Extended Mind

A workshop of the Cluster Languages of Emotion (Freie Universität Berlin) in cooperation with Kolleg-Forschergruppe Bildakt und Verkörperung (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) with the aim to extend ›extended mind‹ theory


Workshop "The Socially Extended Mind"

Workshop "The Socially Extended Mind"
Bildquelle: Thomas Fiedler, blinkenlights.de

Organization: Jan Slaby

March 21–22, 2011

Philosophical approaches to the ›extended mind‹, most rigorously advocated in recent years by Andy Clark, centre around the idea that human mentality is constitutively dependent upon external structures functioning as indispensable »scaffolds« of cognitive processes. In particular, a broad range of tools such as computers, calculators, symbol systems as well as a host of external storage devices have been invoked as cognitive extensions. However, so far, neither the nature of more complex and distributed social structures, arrangements and institutions relevant to cognitive extensions, nor the domain of emotion has received sufficient attention.

Most theorizing within the ›extended mind‹ approach focuses on the causal coupling of an individual’s cognitive processes with narrowly circumscribed environmental items or structures. The broad contexts in which these tools themselves are enmeshed and on which their use and functioning often depend are not explored. Likewise, the institutional backgrounds and human communities, with their specific structures and arrangements in which individual cognizers at any time dwell, have not appeared on the radar of most scholars. Similary, although human emotions are constantly shaped, informed, channelled, and regulated by external structures of various kinds – for example by different media, works of art, arranged spaces, communal practices, technologies and certainly by language – ›extended emotion‹ has not been a topic of discussion. The workshop will address these lacunae in interrelated ways with the aim to extend ›extended mind‹ theory and give it a more realistic and theoretically well-founded outlook.


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Monday, March 21, 2011

  • The Socially Extended Mind - Shaun Gallagher, Dept. of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, University of Central Florida
  • Enacted Cognition, Mental Institutions, and Socio-Functionally Extended Mind - Michele Merritt, Dept. of Philosophy, University of South Florida
  • Interaction and the Extended Mind - Somogy Varga, Center for Subjectivity Studies, University of Copenhagen
  • Extended Cognition, Moral Agency and Personal Responsibility - Mason Cash, Dept. of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, University of Central Florida

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

  • How would participatory sense-making work with institutions? - Hanne de Jaegher, MCR Research Fellow, University of the Basque Country San Sebastian
  • Populations of Subjects: Difference and Development in the Socially Extended Mind - John Protevi, Dept. of French Studies, Louisiana State University
  • (Socially) Extended Emotion - Jan Slaby, Cluster Languages of Emotion, Freie Universität Berlin
  • »La Grande Peur«: Sartre and the Question of Collective Emotions - Martin Hartmann, Philosophisches Seminar, Universität Luzern
  • Cognitive Sociology and the Socially Extended Mind - Christian von Scheve, Cluster Languages of Emotion, Freie Universität Berlin